Ryan Pace has done several things that point to him sabotaging John Fox.
There are multiple situations that point to Chicago Bears’ GM Ryan Pace sabotaging the future of Head Coach John Fox. They may all amount to circumstance or coincidence, but there may be smoke where there is fire. A GM worried about his contract or status with the team does not pull off a draft like the Bears had. Pace drafted from a position of security, and selected players for beyond the 2017 season. John Fox, on the other hand, is in year three of a four-year deal, and would obviously have preferred players who can get immediate wins.
Are the Trubisky secrecy rumors true?
Disbelieve it if you’d like, but it’s very likely John Fox didn’t know about the Trubisky trade until just before the draft.
Some have said Fox doesn’t know how to keep secrets, and Pace didn’t want the information to get out. Adam Schefter even discussed Chicago’s extreme paranoia regarding the trade up with the Niners. If the information was not shared, and Pace kept his own head coach in the dark, it’s a clear sign of major problems.
2017 draft picks are not likely to help in 2018.
Mitch Trubisky, no matter how talented he is, more than likely isn’t helping the team in 2017. The Chicago Bears were 3-13 last year, and need all the help they can get. Using a first round pick on a player who won’t start shows Pace is drafting for the future, and doesn’t really care as much about 2017 wins. John Fox, however, needs wins this year to secure his future.
Second round pick Adam Shaheen figures to be a part-time player at best, because Zach Miller is an entrenched veteran who has shown talent when healthy. Backup Dion Sims figures to contribute in 2017, or he wouldn’t have received a $6M contract. It would not be shocking to see very minimal stats from Shaheen in the upcoming season.
The same can be said of “The Human Joystick,” Tarik Cohen. He may have dominated in the MEAC, but on the Chicago Bears he’ll get the scraps left by Jordan Howard. Scraps for which he’ll have to compete with others.
NFL scouts had a general consensus about the 2017 draft, and the opinion was that 2017 was the deepest draft for defensive players in quite some time. A single defensive player (free safety Eddie Jackson) was selected by the Bears. Pace took a sip from a river of defensive talent, and if he were worried about 2017, he would have taken a gulp. Given the defensive chops of Fox and veteran Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio, they probably would have preferred a waist-deep entry into that pool of defensive talent.
No big names were signed in free agency to help in 2017.
First and foremost, Alshon Jeffrey was basically dumped. He signed with Philadelphia, and it was for less than what the Chicago Bears paid him in 2016. In terms of high-profile free agents, Jeffrey may have been the most coveted, and he was certainly the best Bears’ FA.
After the Bears knew Jeffrey was gone, did they get Desean Jackson or Terrelle Pryor? No. They nabbed Markus Wheaton for more money than former Bear Brandon Marshall. Ignore the fact that Marshall produced the same number of yards and more touchdowns in one season with Chicago than Wheaton has produced his entire career.
Maybe Ryan Pace thought Wheaton, Kendall Wright, Cameron Meredith, and the now bionic Kevin White would be enough at WR? Maybe he was more interested in giving John Fox free agent defensive weapons since there was obviously no plan to draft them?
A.J. Bouye and Stephon Gilmore were both available, but neither were realistically pursued. Both were signed for over $60M, and would have served as an exclamation point on free agency. Pace instead targeted Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper for a fraction of the amount.
Defensive end Calais Campbell was also available. He was a highly sought-after free agent, and the Bears didn’t even consider him. Mitch Unrein’s single sack and twelve tackles last year must have been enough to ignore that position.
The Chicago Bears’ are primed to be big spenders in 2018.
At the current moment, the Bears will have 26 Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA) at the end of the 2017 season. Most costly are Amukamara ($7M), Akiem Hicks ($6.2M), Eddie Royal ($5M), and Kyle Fuller ($3M). Declining to resign just three of the four (Hicks should stay) would be an immediate $15M in salary cap room, and the first sign of a Bears’ spending spree.
On top of that, many of Pace’s deals are front-loaded. Therefore, the Bears are strategically positioned to gain a ton of cap space in 2018. What follows is a list of significant players, their 2018 cap hit, dead cap, and cap savings:
- Mike Glennon – $16M hit, $4.5M dead, $13.5M saved
- Pernell McPhee – $8M hit, $1.5M dead, $6.5M saved
- Lamarr Houston – ~$9M hit, ~$1M dead, $8M saved
- Josh Sitton – ~$8.6M hit, ~$650K dead, ~$8M saved
- Bobby Massie – $6.1M hit, $500K dead, $5.6M saved
- Dion Sims – $6.3M hit, ~$650K dead, ~$5.8M saved
- Markus Wheaton – $5.75M hit, $750K dead, $5M saved
- Marcus Cooper – $5.5M hit, $1M dead, $4.5M saved
- Jerrell Freeman – $4M hit, $500K dead, $3.5M saved
- Quintin Demps – $4.3M hit, ~$650K dead, ~$2.75M saved
- Willie Young – $5.4M hit, $900K dead, $4.5M saved
- Danny Trevathan – $7.15M hit, $2.5M dead, $4.65M saved
Maybe half of those players will get cut, and it would be shocking if the Bears decided to keep Glennon at $16M. As a result, the Bears and Pace are ready to spend some huge money after the season.
Young managers in all fields like to make their mark by creating significant change, and Pace is no exception. Due to his 2017 draft, and his handling of the salary cap, he appears to be headed towards a more offensive-oriented Chicago Bears’ future. All of the changes may end up being great for the franchise, but they likely aren’t great for John Fox.